LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Could Kentucky be the next state to legalize medical marijuana?
Lawmakers are discussing that right in Frankfort. But as that is ongoing, another discussion may leave people confused about what exactly is being sold in stores in Louisville.
Hemp oil that comes in bottles or salves, that people apply for chronic pain, aren't difficult to find in pharmacies or grocery stores that focus on natural products. CBD products, derived from hemp, might be something that people confuse with marijuana.
However, there's one thing CBD products from hemp and marijuana have in common -- they're both natural alternatives to synthetic medication. People may use either for sleep aid, pain relief or anxiety relief.
Cathy Hall, who works at Extract Wellness, a Louisville company that manufactures CBD products from hemp, broke the differences down for us.
"Both hemp and marijuana are cannabis," Hall said. "When people think cannabis, they think marijuana, they think people smoke it and get high. That's true on the marijuana side."
Hemp, on the other hand, is a different plant in the cannabis family. Unlike marijuana, it contains a majority of CBD and significantly less THC, the psychoactive ingredient that makes people feel high.
"To be legal in the state of Kentucky, [CBD products] have to have 0.3% THC or less," Hall explained. "That's really driven off the farm bill of 2014."
That farm bill welcomed research of industrial hemp with open arms into the state of Kentucky. To put some of the hemp products into perspective, a regular marijuana joint may have more than 8% THC.
If House Bill 166 makes it through, it will make medical marijuana legal in Kentucky. In a sense, the state would legalize a medical alternative to traditional medicine that may also compete with other natural products like hemp oil.
Despite that possibility of competition, Hall said she is confident that a market for hemp products will always be around.
"People can get the same relief from symptoms and chronic conditions without the high, and that's very favorable to a lot of people," Hall explained.
Because some hemp products do have up to 0.3% THC content, it may show up in a urine drug test. It hasn't been extensively tested, but Hall said it would be important to speak to your doctor and your employer before starting any hemp products.